Priority Embark review: What makes this belt-drive e-bike worth $4,000?

With so many cheap e-bikes to choose from these days, many people wonder what sets the more expensive e-bikes apart. This was one of the reasons I wanted to get a hands-on experience with the new Priority Embark e-bike, to see what made this premium Class I e-bike different.

Marketed as a maintenance-free e-bike, I entered this review hoping to see what could possibly make an e-bike cost $3,999. And boy, I learned a lot!

The first thing you’ll notice about the Priority Embark is the respectable lineup of premium components.

From the Gates carbon belt drivetrain to the Enviolo (NuVinci) continuously variable transmission to the mid-drive Bosch motor, each of these is an expensive component that you would be lucky enough to find on any bike.

But finding all three premium pieces on a single model is a rarity.

In fact, let’s take a look at an overview of the bike’s parts and specs to see what we’re getting into here.

Technical specifications of the Priority Embark electric bike

  • Motor: Bosch Active Line Plus
  • Battery: Bosch Power Pack 400 (36V 11Ah)
  • Display: Bosch Purion
  • Maximum speed (with motor assistance): 20 mph (32 km/h)
  • Maximum range on Eco: 50 miles (80 km)
  • Weight: 45 lbs (20.4 kg)
  • Frame and fork: Ultralight 6061 T6 aluminum
  • Rear hub transmission: Enviolo Trekking Group (n380)
  • Belt: Gates Carbon Drive with Centertrack CDX 122T
  • Front Sprocket: 50t Gates CDX
  • Rear sprocket: 24t Gates CDX
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-M285 dual-piston hydraulic disc
  • Tyres: WTB Horizon 650B PLUS 47M/M Tubeless Ready
  • Lighting: integrated headlight (700 lumens) and rear light powered by the main unit
  • Driving Modes: 4
  • Frame sizes: 3

Video Review

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Priority Embark delivery experience

You get an idea of ​​the quality of this e-bike right from the start. Priority has partnered with Velofix, a mobile bike shop service. Instead of having your Priority Embark e-bike in a large cardboard box requiring assembly (which is how most of my bikes arrive), you get Velofix’s White Glove Delivery treatment.

They receive your bike and professionally assemble it in advance. They then schedule an appointment with you to deliver the bike to your doorstep at your convenience and show you how it works.

I’ve lost track of how many dozens, if not hundreds, of e-bikes I’ve ridden. And despite the time I have in the saddle, I’m still no expert at assembling and tuning a bike properly. So having a professional do it for me gives me peace of mind knowing that the bike is properly assembled and safely inspected from the start.

Although this service normally costs extra, Priority actually includes it with the purchase of an Embark. Simply use the code “EmbarquezVelofix” at checkout.

How does the Priority Embark roll?

Again, I’ve ridden a lot of e-bikes in my time.

I have used countless Bosch e-bikes and they are truly a joy to ride. Bosch has been making excellent mid-range drives and batteries for years, and every year they get better. Even the battery charger is much better quality than the ones that come with almost every other e-bike I’ve tried.

And I’ve ridden (fewer) e-bikes with Gates Carbon Belt Drive setups, which are so quiet and efficient you feel like your feet are somehow talking directly to the rear wheel.

And I’ve ridden (even less) e-bikes with Enviolo’s continuously variable transmission, the NuVinci N380, which combines the beauty of internally geared hubs with the shifting convenience of derailleurs.

But I had never ridden a bike with all these awesome components together. And let me tell you, this thing is straight out of a dream.

The engine’s four different drive modes gave me options ranging from a pretty decent drive (on ECO) to barely feeling like I was working (on TURBO). Bosch’s PowerPack 400 is supposed to be enough for a 50 mile (80 km) range in ECO mode, but to be honest I spent most of my time in TURBO, where I got closer to 30 miles of autonomy. Always impressive.

For most of my trips, I cruised comfortably at around 19 mph in TURBO mode while feeling like I wasn’t really working very hard. However, when I tried to push well over 20 mph, I suddenly realized that I was doing the heavy lifting.

Even so, the Gates Carbon Belt Drive made this job enjoyable. Instead of dealing with a noisy, oily chain, the quiet belt drive was a nice upgrade. We have been using chains on bicycles for over a hundred years. They work, but there’s a better way folks. Belt drives are easier to use, quieter, more comfortable and maintenance free. Plus, they stay fresh unlike the rusty chains on my other bikes. Of course, belt drives aren’t cheap. At all. They are actually crazy expensive. But if the benefits are worth it, you’ll never regret switching to a belt drive.

And did I mention the Enviolo hub? Maybe I’m biased, because as an engineer, I’m just in love with how this CVT works.

A series of orange spheres hinge between two conical surfaces, varying the speed of rotation.

The elegant solution means that in practice a rider has an infinite number of gear ratios within a 380% speed range. You will never be stuck between two gears again.

Plus, I love the interface too, with a little orange rider that goes from a flat road to a hill as you twist the shifter and change the gear.

The hub has been developed and perfected for over a decade, and is in my opinion one of the best e-bike hubs on the market.

The real question: is it worth it?

All of these things are beautiful, but the question remains. Is Priority Embark worth $4,000?

I will say “yes”.

Yes it is.

Just maybe not to everyone.

At this price, the Priority Embark keeps all its promises. It really is a maintenance-free e-bike. You’ll never have to fiddle with brake settings, dial in your shifters, or mess with chain tension. Instead, you’ll spend that time simply enjoying the ride.

Compared to other high-end e-bikes with similar components, the Priority Embark is actually a bargain. The closest bikes I’ve seen to the Embark are the e-bikes made by Riese & Müller. They are amazing bikes. And the Priority Embark is not Riese & Müller. But it’s damn close, and it’s half the price.

At the end of the day if you want high quality parts, built in power lights, belt drive, hydraulic brakes, NuVinci CVT hub, Bosch motor and battery, White Glove delivery service and a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee then you have to pay a pretty penny for it. So for those who don’t have time to deal with bike prep and instead want to spend their precious free time riding (and have the income to support it), the Priority Embark is worth the premium. the price.

For me, as a millennial who doesn’t mind oiling his hands, turning a key, swapping out punctured inner tubes, and taking a little risk when shopping on the internet, I probably wouldn’t the first to buy a bike like this. But after riding one for a month, I can absolutely see why people would. It’s hard to put a price on quality and convenience. But Priority did, and it’s $3,999.

What do you think of Priority Embark? Let us know in the comment section below.

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